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the vatican today as tens of thousands crowded st. peter's square for one of pope benedict xvi final public appearances. the pope will set step down 11 days from now, setting in motion the search for a new leader and maybe a new direction for the catholic church. nbc's anne thompson is at the vatican tonight with more. anne? >> reporter: good evening, lester. tonight, the pope is on a week-long lenten retreat inside the vatican with the days of his papacy numbered. now, every public appearance of benedict's is a must-see event. for more than 50,000 people, this was the only place to be, a global villageful the faithful and curious in st. peter's square to say thank you and good-bye to pope benedict xvi. >> as soon as he resigned, i knew i definitely wanted to come and witness it. >> reporter: 20-year-old thaddius howard of georgia brought an american flag. >> i wanted to let the pope know that he is supported by all of us from america. >> reporter: in six different languages, benedict addressed the crowd. >> thank you for the prayers and support you have shown me. >> reporter:? german, he s
really surprised. >> reporter: pope benedict had been looking frail recently, using a moveable platform during services, so he wouldn't have to walk. relying on a cane. the pope wants more rest, said his 89-year-old brother in germany. he said his brother has been thinking about stepping down for months. and had been advised by his doctors not to take anymore long, international flights, such as a planned trip to brazil in july. the pope's decision is unprecedented in modern times. the last similar case was pope celestine v, who had praise for pope benedict today. >> he has given church the last great service he will give the church. he's stepping off the stage when he feels he can't exercise the office of peter. >> reporter: benedict seemed to many a reluctant pope, as cardinal ratzinger under john paul ii, he was known as a conservative guardian of church doctrine, opposing women priests, abortion and homosexuality. as pope, he inherited the church's biggest scandal in decades. revelations that priests had sexually abused children. he met with victims and apologized. >> for all, i exp
, and there is no road map for what's happening right now. pope benedict is abdicating. he said his farewell today. he flies off tomorrow, and then the gathering starts to pick his replacement. nbc's anne thompson was at the vatican for all of it today. anne, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. you know, in his final days, pope benedict has shown the world he has the ability to surprise. first in his decision to abdicate. and then today in his last public speech, revealing the personal toll leading the catholic church has taken on him. they came to witness history. >> i think this is something we're going to be able to look back at and tell our grandkids we were there. >> reporter: to say thank you. >> for all of us, he has been a really amazing teacher. >> reporter: and applaud the first pope in 700 years to voluntarily step down. >> i'm sure that he's really a very intelligent man, that he cares more about the church than about his role in the church. >> reporter: respect and affection is benedict's trouble pontificate comes to an end. >> i continue to accompany the church with my prayer
the final brief appearance there. and the final end to the benedict papacy comes four hours from now when the doors of gandolfo close and they leave. let's go down to keir simmons covering it all for us. kear, good morning to you. >> reporter: hey, savannah, good morning, the saints looking down on the square have not seen a day like this in medieval times. in the papal palace, over my shoulder here, the pope, as you say, has been meeting were his cardinals, tells them, i'll be with you in prayer. dawn across rome. this city has seen more than 260 pontiffs, only two popes passed in the last thousand years have left like this. the cardinals, princes of the church, gathered this morning for a warm farewell to pope benedict. some cardinals wants to speak to him for as long as possible. pope benedict will resign just after sunset. this home, this beautiful summer palace, quiet after a frantzic few weeks. >> at 8:00 exactly, he will stop being pope, the swiss guards who stand guard outside the palace and he'll go. >> reporter: rough seas he admitted yesterday and now the task begins of choosin
catholics around the world are still adjusting to the knowledge to the announcement pope benedict will be stepping down and new leadership will follow. and today the man who says he lacks the strength to go on as leader of the church led his final public mass as pope. nbc's anne thompson with us tonight from the vatican. anne, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. today we finally saw the man who is causing all the commotion here. in two public appearances, pope benedict looked every one of his 85 years, but his voice and his resolve are strong. ♪ pope benedict led a packed st. peter's basilica in a moving ash wednesday mass. reminding the faithful, they are made from dust and to dust they shall return. a message of humility, answered by an unusual demonstration of affection. a spontaneous, prolonged standing ovation for the retiring pontiff, at his final public mass. a sea of cell phones capturing the exit of a man praised today as a simple and humble worker. >> i have tears in my eyes. it's just so amazing to be here. >> reporter: the pope's weekly audience turned in
, brian. >>> overseas now. six days from now pope benedict will step down. then it will be time for the cardinals to elect a new pope, and some american cardinals who will be heading to the conclave suddenly find themselves in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. nbc's anne thompson with us tonight, once again from the vatican with this story. anne, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. as pope benedict finishes his lenten retreat, the vatican is preparing for this historic transition. with many questions, such as who will lead the church, far from answered. a week before pope benedict retires, and there is still no clear front-runner to succeed him. however, there is a long shot. new york's cardinal timothy dolan. >> i'll do anything to get you guys in church. >> reporter: praised in catholic circles for his persona. his efforts to revitalize the church and fighting the obama administration's contraception coverage mandate. but this week, dolan was deposed about how he dealt with abusive priests as archbishop of milwaukee. what impact is this going to have on card
. >>> this was a bittersweet day at the vatican as pope benedict xvi made his final sunday appearance as the church faced new allegations of wrongdoing. nbc's anne thompson is at the vatican for us again tonight. anne, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, lester. today's events, you can see both the strengths and weaknesses of the catholic church, the exuberant energy and faith in the massive crowd gathered here, and the new charges of abuse that continue to haunt this institution. today, the world came to st. peter's square for pope benedict's final sunday blessing. part pep rally. part prayer service. just being in the crowd of 1,000 was a learning experience for these american students. >> that the faith has no national boundaries and political interests. >> reporter: the object of their affection and gratitude, the 85-year-old pontiff. he told the crowd he is not abandoning the church but answering god's call to more prayer and meditation, more appropriate for his age and strength. yet even in this joyful square, the scandals that marked his papacy were on the minds of some. >> i think he has done an
learn today that the outgoing pope benedict will be called -- what he will be called after he is pope and what life will be like for him, because afr all, remember, an abdicating pope is all new territory for the catholic church. nbc's anne thompson remains at the vatican for us tonight. anne, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. they are already closing off the streets around st. peter's square in anticipation of the huge crowds for pope benedict's final audience tomorrow. the cardinals who will elect his successor have started to arrive, including controversial american cardinal roger mahoney, who is here despite calls for him to stay home because of his role in shielding sexually abusive priests in los angeles. these final days for benedict have been very difficult. he's seen a cardinal forced to resign, intense speculation over an internal investigation into leaked documents. but today the news was all about his new life. in retirement, he will be called pope emeritus. he will still wear white, just a simple cap and not the cape we're used to seeing. his red shoes will
more progressive than benedict. >> i think that it's good he decided to resign if he feels like hs aging enough that he can't be in control of the p church and divisions and put someone in significantly younger and have more of a heartbeat of the younger generation and what might matter to them move forward. >> among the candidates, one from the philippines recently said the church should listen more and admit its mistakes. it's unlikely the new pope will be from the united states. >>> beautiful day for a trip to the beach. it's still february. this is what it's going to look like tomorrow. it's not going to look this way in the early part of the workweek. >>> meteorologist is tracking a major change coming up in the forecast. >> i don't think it's going to include many beach days. forecast today, cooler than saturday's 70-degree high temperatures. santa cruz, a lot of sunshine. 57 in fremont. here is what lies ahead in the forecast. cold trough of low pressure dropping in on us. right around this time tomorrow night. clouds are filling in. we'll see rain and we'll see wind. that's
pope benedict xvi. today's blessing comes as the vatican considers moving up the date to find his replacement. we're live in st. peter's square. >>> and the drama surrounding former senator chuck hagel, the president's choice for defense secretary. his nomination in limbo, were even though many suspect he will eventually be confirmed. why are they making this process so difficult? we'll talk to david gregory and get analysis 06 that. >>> plus, have you ever wondered what it's like to train as a g man? >> i have wondered 245. >> well, you're sitting next to the right guy. i was in quantico, virginia. they deal with a car stop, hand-to-hand combat. and what we learned about fighting crime and you were brushing up on your car knowledge. >> i was. i was doing a little bit of that. we hear women don't know what much about cars. we get a bad rap. one woman who knows a lot about cars wants to change that perception. i spent a day changing oil. as part of a unique class designed for women by a woman. its goal is to make both our cars and the repair shop a little less intimidating. >> i wo
benedict xvi announced he's stepping down, vatican officials have now set a timetable for when the next pope will be appointed. >>> good morning to you from scottsdale. the spring training home of the world champion san francisco giants. coming up, we will have some old friends and some new friends. one's a furry friend. we'll show you in just a bit. >>> new this morning, america's most wanted fugitive and now, the search for a former police officer turned shooting rampage suspect is spreading south so mexico and investigators say they believe he may have had some help getting there. court papers say an accomplice identified by the initials j.y. may have helped dorner cross the border, but federal authorities telling the time to mexico is just one of the places dorner could be hiding, stressing dorner could be anywhere at this point. at a news conference this morning, police say they're now pursuing more than 1,000 leads. >> it is frustrating and we're hopeful that something will break loose from the public and that these leads will result in something very positive in terms of bringing
. lester? >> michelle, thanks. >>> tomorrow at the vatican, pope benedict xvi will offer a final public blessing before he retires next thursday. as cardinals gather for the election of a new pope, the vatican today was sharply critical of a wave of reports in the italian media. nbc's anne thompson is at the vatican. good evening to you. >> reporter: good evening, lester. it was an unusually strong rebuke from the vatican for going after the media for running false news reports, they claim, to influence the election of the next pope. now, this pushback came after several unsourced stories in an italian newspaper this week claim pope benedict decided to resign after receiving a secret report in december outlining corruption and misconduct inside the vatican. church officials here denied that story and today the vatican secretary of state issued a statement saying, it is deplorable that there are unverified, unverifiable, and completely false news stories that harm persons or institutions. now, while all this was going on, pope benedict after his week-long lenten retreat was getting back
benedict. instead the world is seeing the darker side of the church, the in-fighting and scandals that today claimed britain's highest-ranking catholic. for scotland's cardinal o'brien, the end came with astonishing swiftness. today o'brien resigned and said he will not attend the conclave to elect a new pope. the first cardinal in history to stay away, because of a personal scandal. sunday, a british newspaper published accusations by three priests and a former priest that o'brien engaged in inappropriate behavior with them, going back to the 1980s. >> holy father accepted the resignation -- >> reporter: 24 hours later, pope benedict accepted o'brien's resignation as archbishop of saint andrews and edinborough. >> quite upsetting. >> the catholic church is in quite a bit of turmoil. >> reporter: o'brien denied the claims and said in a statement today, for any failures, i apologize to all whom i've offended. >> the one who handed me over to you -- >> reporter: just last week, o'brien spoke out about the american cardinal, mahoney under pressure to sit out the conclave because he s
'll go and at 8:00 p.m. eastern he'll no longer be pope benedict xvi but rather pope benedict amara. >> the world is eagerly waiting to see who will replace him. do we know more of when the conclave will start? >> reporter: we don't at this point, mara. we do know the general meetings among the cardinals, the cardinals over the age of 80 don't get to vote for the new pope and the cardinal electors begin on monday. sometime between monday and tuesday we'll get a definite start date for the conclave. >> ann thompson live at the vatican. thank you for that. when the pope leaves later today, he'll be heading to castel gandolfo. claudio is joining us live from there this morning, good morning. >> reporter: good morning. the pope is expected to arrive here in four hours and people are starting to gatter in the main square to bid him one last farewell. among the first to arrive here in the square is a group of american students from a catholic university from ohio. i'm joined here by one of them. student mike -- stacen. were you surprised when the pope announced his resignation? >> i was.
: -- he, too, was taken aback by the news that pope benedict would be stepping down february 28th for health reasons. >> we we saw him in rome in october, we realized how frail he's becoming. i think it's a courageous act on his part. >> reporter: the 85-year-old pope had been considering resigning for several months because he's tired, having trouble walking and had recently been advised by his doctor not to embark on any more trans-atlantic flights. the pontiff released a statement that reads in part, quote, after having repeatedly examined my conscience before god, i have come to the certainty that my strengths due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the petrine ministry. >> i'm very disappointed because, in my lifetime, every pope has followed the natural path of dying and then electing a new pope. >> that's kind of sad that he has to go, but you know, at least he realizes that he can't continue. >> most of the news people were saying, well, he's a rottweiler pope, well, no, he wasn't. he was a pope who spoke on love. and he has a strong legacy
on march 26th. >>> it was an emotional farewell from pope benedict xvi as thousands of people gathered at vatican city. tomorrow he will step down leaving the roman catholic church and its 1 billion worldwide follow eers without a pope. marianne joins us from the vatican. marianne? >> reporter: raj, pope benedict xvi spoke of the burdens of his office as well as the joy. st. peters square alive with excitement as the first pope in six centuries chooses to resign revealing at 85 years old he no longer has the stamina to leave the roman catholic church. >> i will continue to accompany the church with my prayers and ask each of you to pray for me and for the new hope. >> reporter: those who will choose his successor found his final words especially moving. >> it was such a beautiful moment to see the holy father give his whole life and service to the church. >> reporter: benedict noted the difficult times of his pa pacy thanking the faithful for understanding his decision to step down for the good of the church. >> so it's a kind of a death to a certain office and moving on, and he got a
st. peter's square to hear pope benedict's last sunday mass. crews preparing for the large crowd. 2,000 security cameras have been installed throughout rome, many focused on the vatican. civil defense volunteers, police officers and paramedics will be stationed in st. peter's square and streets leading to the vatican. pope benedict plans to retire on thursday and most of the church cardinals will gather to choose the next pope. this is the first time in 600 years that a pope has resigned from the position. >>> with less than a week left, lawmakers on capitol hill are expressing pessimism toward the sequester. governors are calling on elected leader to avoid across the board cuts that could hurt the economy. if congress can't find middle grounds, the first things to slash are military and defense budgets. it is not looking good. >>> a day away from the night of the oscars. >> technicians and crews spent the day preparing for the awards show. the red carpet in place in front of the dolby theater, full sized statuettes are standing guard. they will be hosted by seth macfarlane and dani
here. they asked us what is going on. nobody really got the news. when they told them pope benedict xvi was redesignisignry didn't know. actually, he can, but obviously, no pope has done that for 700 years. so no wonder people are aware of that. for now on that may change the course of the catholic church in the future as well as pope benedict xvi is setting an example. if you don't have the strength to carry on let someone younger and more strength to carry on the mission. >> it certainly is a monument ool announcement. claudio, thank you very much. >>> this morning we spoke with greg burke the senior communication adviser to the holy see in rome. we began by asking him how much of a surprise this was? >> it is a surprise. i people think had fair warning. it was a few years ago in a book called "light of the world," a long interview with a german journalist. the journalist asked the pope if he would resign. and he said something interesting. in the midst of a candle and all that stuff. he said now is not the time. it's not the time to run when you're in great risk and emergency period.
people. pope benedict xvi, the first pope they've known and the old who know how his story is. gathering to hear the last testament. and looking on the cardinal, one of these men could soon be pope, the first from pope benedict, a prayer. a final message to his follower followers. >> ask each of you to pray for me and for the new pope i impart my blessing. thank you. [ applause ] >> reporter: this frail man choosing a quieter life. so very different from his predecessor john paul who stayed until the very end. anthony from pennsylvania witnessed both pope's last sermons. >> they're courage in different ways. in opposite ways but the same degree of courage. >> reporter: the pope summoning the strength to say good-bye, giving up one of the most powerful roles on earth. meeting publicly with the faithful one last time. >> savannah as the pope got up to leave. there was a wave of emotion. people calling out to him, waving good-bye. many people held up banners saying thank you in return. pope benedict told the faithful i have never felt this way. >> thank you. greg burke is the senior communi
new information tonight about pope benedict's decision to step down and what is ahead of the the 85-year-old pontiff. still no official reason for the pope's sudden retirement, but they do believe his health and age were a concern, citing the fact that he felt he could no longer continue his duties. the vatican, however, says the decision was made about a year ago before a recent surgery. pope benedict's resignation has several bishops around the world wondering if there is a precedent being set allowing future popes to follow suit. the pontiff's future plans include living at a monaçtery inside the vatican. now, tomorrow he'll preside over an ash wednesday mass. a large crowd is expected as it will be his last public mass. >>> it is a sensitive and polarizing debate on many college campuses. the price of competing in big-time athletics hurting the academic bottom line? a growing number of critics say yes, and they point to uc berkeley as the example. nbc bay area stephen stock teamed up with the investigative reporting program at cal in search of answers. stephen, what did you fin
is going to live there? the answer is that is where pope benedict is going to make his retirement home. tomorrow, the pope will hold his weekly audience, and then later in the day, he will preside over ash wednesday mass, marking the beginning of lent. that mass was supposed to be held in a small church in rome. it's been move here to st. peter's basilica to accommodate the thousands who are expected to attend what could well be the pope's last public mass. brian? >> all those pieces and clues now apparent. it will be an interesting 16 days ahead. anne thompson in vatican city, thanks. >>> still ahead as we continue on a busy tuesday night, the cruise ship nightmare in the gulf of mexico. an increasingly ugly scene on board. five working toilets, 3,000 people. that's just the start of it. >>> we are back now with some of the horror stories we are hearing, the stories emerging about some of the 4200 passengers and crew on board the carnival cruise ship "triumph." it all started when the ship caught fire, lost power sunday night, setting off an awful chain of events on board, including s
to prop 8 which will be heard on march 26th. >>> also at 11:00, insight why pope benedict is stepping down. he made the decision after the internal investigation into the scandal at the vatican. among the things exposed in the 300-page report is blackmail and sex scandals at the vatican. the pope plans to hand over the report to the successor. >>> theless lesist is growing. 32-year-old katrina fritz was arraigned on murder and robbery charges today. detectives claim she is a prostitute who frequently was hired by the victim. ravi kumra was killed last november. fritz's brother is one of the three men charged in the case. another suspected prostitute, raven dixon is also charged. >>> police in pleasant hill began investigating 37-year-old jason pedrosia of having sex with underage girls. police say it happened at the lesher center for the arts. he was fired in november. he also worked at a ballet school. >>> she is back in the headlines and back in hot water. tonight, the woman at the center of the wendy's chili finger case is in trouble with the law again. she hid her face from us when sh
slain girlfriend speak out for the first time. >>> pushing back. as pope benedict prepares to step down, the vatican lashes out over media reports and speculation on why he's retiring. and about some of those who might replace him. >>> and, shaking it up. on how a song makes it to the top of the charts. some say it's about time. >>> good evening. we begin with a developing story from daytona beach, florida, where late this afternoon a race car smashed into the fence and sent debris flying into the grandstands. it happened on the eve of the daytona 500 on the final lap of a nationwide series race. at least a dozen people were injured. nbc's janet shamlian is in daytona with the latest. janet, good evening. >> reporter: lester good evening to you. yes, this was a jaw-dropping crash and it happened right
] >>> quite a scene at the vatican. tens of thousands of people filled the square today for pope benedict xvi last public appearance. he asked the faithful to pray for him and the cardinals that will choose his successor. when he stepped down tomorrow, he will be the first to do so in hundreds of years. >>> gun control heats up on capital bill. there was an assault weapons ban discussed today and a father whose son was killed in the newtown massacre. >> people say the overall number of deaths is relative small, but don't tell that to the people of columbine, or newtown. >> the december shooting left 20 children dead, and six educators debt. the senate judiciary committee headed by dianne feinstein could vote as soon as tomorrow. >>> the politics of pot, more than half of cal voters support it being sod and taxed like alcohol. 54% of the voters say yes to legalizing marijuana. we'll see if this poll translates into votes next year. promarijuana activist want to put the legalization issue on the ballot. >> parents are rallying in support of a fired gymnastic's teacher. she said she enforced a p
? >> all right, al. thank you. >>> now to rome and pope benedict's final days as leader of the catholic church. moments ago the vatican announced new details about the pope's life after he steps down. let's get to nbc's anne thompson at the vatican this morning. anne, good morning to you. >> reporter: good morning, savannah. we now know what pope benedict will be called once he retires. if you run into him, you address him as his holiness, pope benedict xvi, or roman pontiff emeritus. he won't wear the white cape you've seen him wear as pope. and then those shoes that he's so very fond of, well, they go. he will have to switch to brown shoes. we understand he'll wear a pair he was given on a trip to mexico. all of those details are coming out as the world gets a glimpse of the sometimes ugly gamesmanship that goes on in this beautiful setting. cardinal keith o'brien, briton's highest ranking catholic and its only vote in the upcoming papal conclave is staying away, accused of improper behavior with four young priests going back to the 1980s, detailed in a british newspaper sunday that o
>>> this is an nbc news special report. the resignation of pope benedict xvi. here is savannah guthrie. >> good morning. i'm savannah guthrie live at the vatican with an nbc news special report. it's noon here in rome, 6:00 a.m. on the east coast and pope benedict xvi is wrapping up his final meeting with the college of cardinals right now before he officially steps down as leader of the catholic church later today. let's get to nbc's keir simmons here in st. peter's square. good morning. what have we been seeing this mo
the vatican's plans to elect a new pope in the wake of pope benedict's surprise decision to retire at the end of the month. rich richard engel is live in the vatican city. >> reporter: it's an act of humility and encourage to make way for a younger man. 24 hours later there's still shock in the vatican city. >> shocked. disappointed. sad. >> reporter: this morning roman catholics, tourists, even some church officials wondered if this can be a moment to revitalize the church after pope benedict xvi's unexpected decision to step down. >> personally i didn't agree with a lot of the things he believed and prepared. >> this will bring change for the church. >> reporter: in making his announcement the 85-year-old pontiff who has been looking frail asked for forgiveness. i have to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the min nus stri entrusted to me he told a gathering of cardinals in latin saying his advanced age forced the decision. just hours later these images circulated around the world. these are unusual times for the vatican. the last time a pope abdicated under similar circumstances
of benedict's papacy, while scandal and intrigue engulf some of the men who will choose the next pope. even in his final days as pope, scandal continues to dog benedict's papacy and the church. italian newspapers headline rumors of blackmail and conspiracy that the vatican vehemently denies. american cardinal roger mahony has ignored calls to stay home from a conclthat chooses the next pope because of his role protecting abusive priests. scottish cardinal keith o'brien, who commented on mahony's situation last week. >> someone has erred and we have anoth another. >> reporter: today cardinal o'brien resigned after being accused by three priests and former priest of inappropriate behavior going back to the 1980s. ugly headlines that one vatican watcher says will shape the deliberations of the conclave. >> some of this is politics, but other parts of it are the long delayed, reckoning with problems that require facing and correcting in the church. >> reporter: the scandals have left many of the faithful weary. >> i'm a true believer and i hope that catholics will get a better name these days.
. pope benedict's successor, anne thompson is there with more. good morning, anne. >> reporter: good morning, natalie. the conclave to elect pope benedict's successor is scheduled to begin between march 15th and march 20g9, but there is talk it could be moved up because the karmds who will elect the new pope are coming here to rome to say good-bye to pope benedict february 28th. we should hear some word perhaps this week. asked who will succeed pope benedict the pope himself yesterday set off a flurry of speculation at his weekly blessing when he addressed the crowd in spanish, he asked them to pay praise for himself and the future pope. some wondered was he sending a secret signal that he would prefer to see a pope from latin america? i spoke to a vatican spokesman who said there was no secret signal, just the pope offering a prayer. >> anne thompson, thank you. >> nbc's white house correspondent kristen welker is in port st. lucie, traveling with the president. good morning. >> reporter: good morning, natalie. president obama heads home later today after a weekend of golf, includin
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